NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Iona Prep Gaels will see a familiar opponent Sunday when they host Chaminade in the opening round of the Catholic High Schools football League playoffs in a 1 p.m. kickoff .
Iona (5-3) earned the No. 4 seed despite a 23-19 loss three weeks ago to Chaminade (5-3), which is seeded No. 5 in the tournament. The Gaels have been improving each week and are coming off a strong performance at top-seeded and unbeaten St. Anthony’s last week, where they lost 21-20.
Chaminade has lost two straight since beating the Gaels and may be faltering at the wrong time of the season.
Mario Biaggi leads the Gaels offense at quarterback, passing for 755 yards and nine touchdowns and rushing for 455 yards and eight scores. Omari Buster and Austin Jones are the prime receivers, catching 28 and 25 balls respectively.
Backup quarterback and slot back Justin Combs causes problems for defenses, throwing for 475 yards and three touchdowns and adding an option to the Gaels offense. Running back Shaquille Townsend has complied 700 yards and scored seven rushing touchdowns.
Chaminade depends on a multi-back running game that has produced 165 yards per game. Quarterback Joseph Anile and running backs John Despoli and Daniel Fowler each have more than 250 rushing yards. Anile’s prime receiver Thomas Zeilker has 11 catches, five for touchdowns.
Iona is on the upswing and Chaminade is fading, so this one should go to the Gaels if they can slow Chaminade’s running game.